Moon Under Water

211 Gertrude St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
03 9417 7700

Moon Under Water 5440Moon Under Water 0057Photo of signage taken by geek hubby

I found this meal oddly more experiential rather than food oriented. Hard to explain… but imagine this: you’re in a room encapsulated by white walls, white curtains, white furnishings, and white lamps. Even the staff are coiffed with white lab-coat looking aprons and white sneakers.

Moon Under Water 1Moon Under Water 5460

It was quite an unusual feeling, as if you’re part of a gallery exhibition, or perhaps you’re dining inside the nautical belly of a ship from decades ago.

I embarked on this ‘nautical flight’ with cousin trouble, geek hubby and friends. Trouble is a fan of all of Andrew McConnell’s establishments (Cutler & Co., Cumulus Inc., Golden Fields), so she was more than eager to fit this venue into her 10-day Melbourne eating itinerary.

Moon Under Water 5458Cheese biscuit

Moon Under Water is Andrew McConnell’s latest venture. It’s actually the fine dining arm of The Builders Arms Hotel, an establishment that he’s taken over. But here, in this capsule of a dining room, you get a 5-course prix fixe menu for $75. For wine pairings, add $55.

Moon Under Water 5470Moon Under Water 5472 Spanish ham, wholemeal sourdough, pickles, butter

The first course of breads and starters were presented very neatly in a white metal box, with a wooden top that cleverly served as a charcuterie board. The Spanish ham was spectacular… creamy, nutty… acorny. While its provenance wasn’t announced to us, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was excellently sourced jamon.

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The wholemeal sourdough was also very nice… densely moist and flavoursome.

Moon Under Water 5489Moon Under Water 5492 Zucchini salad, burnt butter, sorrel & amonds

Course two came as a flawless garden on a plate, much enjoyed by all of us. I’m always a big fan of these light and clean vegetable-based entrées.

Moon Under Water 5499King George whiting, lemon sauce, fennel pollen

We next had steamed King George whiting with beurre blance sauce, fennel leaves, strips of mint leaves and a sprinkle of paprika. The fennel leaves lent a gently fragrant counterpoint to this light tasting dish, while its pollen imparted hints of anise. However, because it was steamed, the fish must be utterly fresh. On this front, our whiting tasted a touch fishy.

Moon Under Water 5510Dry aged striploin, eggplant & pearl onions

Our fourth course of grass fed striplion had a lot of texture. And I’m being polite here… truth is, it was quite a tough piece of meat to chew.

Moon Under Water 5507w marinated cos lettuce

The other components of the dish went very well with the steak, loved the charred eggplant purée in particular. We only had issues with the actual steak’s texture. Striploin is a cut from the short loin, it’s meant to be rather tender.

Considering I had a melt-in-your-mouth rump cap at Brooks Bar two days later, I believe this cut of meat could’ve been cooked (or sourced) better.

Moon Under Water 5523Cheese Course (optional)

We were offered a cheese course, priced at $8 for 3 pieces. I’ve forgotten what it was exactly… think it was a type of delicate goats cheese with an outer skin. I remember really liking it!

Moon Under Water 5533Poached meringue, blackberries, fig leaf ice cream

We finished this meal with a French classic – Oeufs a la Niege (snow eggs), which is essentially a poached meringue. This dessert was subtle and mellow with smooth flavours.

Moon Under Water 5542Moon Under Water 5459 Petit fours

Like I said at the start, this meal seemed to have a more atmospheric focus than a culinary feel. Some of the dishes could’ve been better, but all of the dishes somehow felt soft and fluffy. They sit on you like a pillow. And if I may use some poetic licence here, it was like eating into an impressionistic painting in a powdery white room.

To discover the rest of cousin trouble’s 10-day Melbourne food trail, check out this teaser post.

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